19 February 2023

The Lord blesses His children through patriarchal blessings

Talk intended for Milnerton ward sacrament meeting 19 Feb 2023, but I gave about a quarter of it due to having about 5 minutes. So here it is for those interested in reading the other 16 minutes or so. The two previous speakers (Daphne van den Berg and Allen Torr) laid a wonderful foundation for the few minutes that I took, so all was good...


Who was born? Which one of us sitting in the chapel was born?

Who had to be fed, dressed, even had stinky nappies changed, or had to be lovingly rocked to sleep as a baby?

Who had a first day of school at about 6 years of age?

Dumb questions, huh? Duh! Who did not? 

Can you remember your birth, or having nappies changed, or being rocked to sleep as a baby, even that first day at school?

Can you remember what you ate for your main meal four days ago, and how it tasted? I presume that you had at least one meal four days ago? What details do you remember?

Can you remember the experience that you had when you, as Eve or Adam, partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – you know – when you learned to distinguish between the opposites of good and evil, light and darkness, bitter and sweet, health and sickness, pleasure and pain? Or are you, as I am, still learning that important spirit of discernment?

I do not have any memories of my birth, nappies and so forth, or even my first day at school, or specifically my main meal four days ago. I do have some memories of some of the things that helped me to distinguish between those opposites. Most of what I remember has to do with the sensations of feeling, tasting, smelling, seeing, or hearing. Those feelings remind me more of, or at least as much as, the information that I learned, the details of the event or journey, or the processes involved.

One of my earliest memories is feeling – I recognised the feeling of the Spirit and that it was the same as the feeling of love in my family. I would guess that I was a little child at the time. I remember playing with the window-winder in the family car as we turned a corner near to our home and thinking that I was feeling a warm fuzzy feeling, and that warm fuzzy feeling was the same feeling that I had when the Spirit was with me and when I was feeling the love in my family. It was a comfortable, good, pleasant, sweet, healthy, brilliant feeling. That is one of my special memories – such a small and simple thing.

Eternal relationships

I recently shared something in my WhatsApp status. A meme – I think that is what it is called – that shows an elderly man lovingly kissing his elderly wife who is evidently frail, with the quote ‘Relationships don't last because they were destined to last. Relationships last long because two people made a choice to keep it, fight for it, and make it work.’ 

I often refer to a wonderful scene in Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye and Golde had been married for about 20 years. They have three daughters and are planning on arranging marriages for their daughters just as their own marriage had been planned by their parents, probably about 20 years before. But their daughter appeals to not be married to an older rich man that would be a very favourable match for Tevye’s poor family. She would rather marry a simple tailor. He is not wealthy, but she loves him. This is when Tevye and Golde asked the questions ‘Do you love me? Do I love you?’ And they discover the answer – each loves the other. Their love was the outcome of being faithful to each other, being committed to each other. How often do people in our communities marry, or form a bond with each other, because they think that they love each other, but what they are feeling might be lust rather than love, or it might be love, and then, if both are not faithful to each other, they fall out of love. Don’t we witness that all too often?

The ultimate demonstration of love is ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son.’ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/nt/john/3?lang=eng&id=p16#p16

I remember a young man, a member of our ward, ridiculing my faith and religion because he said that it is immoral for one man to have to suffer to atone for the wrongs of others. And so he denied the faith that he had previously professed. I know that he had felt the Spirit because I had heard him express such feelings. But he was choosing to not remember what he had felt.

I was fascinated during some of my tour guide studies this last week, learning more about our history. I was struck by hearing that a significant reason for the Great Trek was because that group of Calvinists in South Africa believed that they were God’s ancient covenant or chosen people, and that they had a work to do. I investigated that and concluded that the Dutch Reformed people would probably be those referred to. I considered what we believe – that we are the children of Abraham, and so we inherit the Abrahamic covenant. That is brought to us in our patriarchal blessings as our lineage in the house of Israel is declared – the birthright inheritance of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God’s ancient covenant people.

That Abrahamic covenant is special. Our individual covenant is special. Our Heavenly Father delights to bless His children. He said ‘Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me;’ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/41?lang=eng&id=p1#p1

What we do with our blessings

How often has our Heavenly Father blessed you with something like a harvest of peas? He delights to pour out a blessing such as rain to water crops. And we harvest a bag full of something like peas. Don’t they taste so delightful? Sweet, juicy, round. I love them! It is a long time since I shelled a pea and ate the little peas. It makes my mouth water to think of the taste, the sensation, the delight. We then have the choice to enjoy that delightful bag of peas! Or we can choose to multiply that bag to produce even a hundred or more bags of peas.

The Lord asked a really good question in the third chapter of Malachi, eighth verse. ‘Will a man rob God?’

And then He comments on it. ‘Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

‘Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

‘Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

‘And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.

‘And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.’ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/ot/mal/3?lang=eng&id=p8-p12#p8

He has opened the windows of Heaven and poured out rain that enabled you and me to produce a harvest. He has given the sunlight, the oxygen the nutrients, the seed itself that made the harvest possible. He has always been faithful in blessing His children because He loves each one of us. Whether our harvest is peas, beans, wheat, maize, wool, meat, artwork, music, beautiful clothes, engineering wonders, technological devices, wages, health, beauty, love, natural beauties and resources, or whatever we are able to produce, what could we have produced if it had not been for the food that we had eaten? The very source of what makes up any of our produce is primary production – plants that we or someone grew –  on which each of us relies entirely, simply for survival. He delights to bless us and is faithful in blessing us – we were born; we had our nappies changed because of loving parents or carers; we are what we are because He is faithful to us.

Will we be faithful to Him?

Our patriarchal blessing

I like a quote that I read in LDS Living – learn to see a patriarchal blessing not as a destination but a doorway to more revelation.

Where does my patriarchal blessing start? Does it start when it addresses LESLIE WARD POWRIE? Where does it end? Does it end ‘by virtue of the priesthood I hold and in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen’? Or did His communication with me start long before I was born, or had my nappies changed, or had that warm fuzzy feeling, or started school, or ate that meal four days ago, and will it end long after I breathe my last breath of mortality and my body is laid to rest?

I shared an invitation to listen to this talk in my WhatsApp Status. Some of you might have seen it. Some who saw it might have had the thought go through their mind that ‘patriarchal blessing’ reminds them of Abraham and the repeated promise made to him – in Genesis 12 ‘in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.’ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/ot/gen/12?lang=eng&id=3#p3

In Genesis 18 ‘Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?’ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/ot/gen/18?lang=eng&id=18#p18

In Genesis 22 ‘And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.’ https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/ot/gen/22?lang=eng&id=18#p18

I am fascinated to consider how we are – how I am – part of the seed of Abraham through whom all of the families and nations of the earth shall be blessed. Are we – am I – living up to that charge?

He delights to bless us

Last week we sang hymn 96 in which we sang ‘Dearest children, God is near you, Watching o’er you day and night, And delights to own and bless you, If you strive to do what’s right. He will bless you, He will bless you, If you put your trust in him.’ He does truly delight to bless us. He sent us to school in this mortal experience with the hope that we will choose to follow Him. He wants us to choose to follow Him – the ultimate exercise of our agency is to want to choose to follow Him; to desire to choose to follow Him; to be determined to choose to follow Him. He hopes that we will choose Him – the Spirit has made it clear to me that he has no desire that any one of His children will choose to not follow Him.

My father described our patriarchal blessings somewhat as what we might have been told as we left heaven as we came down to Earth to be born – that time when we were having nappies changed and being fed, kicking and crying in frustration as we were learning to fit our fully developed spirits into those tiny little bodies. We are still learning about our divine potential and relationship. Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother would have been sad to see us leave and have our memories of life with Them lost, and now we are learning to navigate the challenges of mortality as we walk by faith and not by sight. But they believe in us. They know who we are!

We are given some specific information about patriarchal blessings in the guidelines for patriarchs.

A patriarchal blessing should also include inspired and prophetic statements about the life possibilities of the recipient. As the Spirit directs, the patriarch identifies for the recipient accomplishments to be realized, challenges to be overcome, and blessings to be received. The patriarch also includes such promises, admonitions, and warnings as he may be prompted to give. In these ways a patriarchal blessing can help the recipient define his or her responsibilities and goals.

In each blessing the patriarch should make clear that the realization of the promises is contingent on the faithfulness of the recipient and the will of the Lord.

A patriarchal blessing should encourage the person to keep the commandments and to qualify for eternal life. . . .

The declaration of lineage is not determined by a person’s race or nationality. Because of the scattering of Israel among all nations of the earth, the lineage of Israel is found in people of most races and nationalities. . . .  

On the subject of declaring lineage, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said: “A declaration of lineage is not a scientific pronouncement or an identification of genetic inheritance. A declaration of lineage is representative of larger and more important things. . . . This declaration concerns the government of the kingdom of God, not the nature of the blood or the composition of the genes of the person being blessed” (“Patriarchal Blessings,” Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting: The Patriarch, Jan. 8, 2005, 8).

Regardless of lineage, all who gain a testimony of Jesus Christ and accept baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost from the Lord’s authorized servants are accounted as Abraham’s “seed” as promised in the Abrahamic covenant (see Abraham 2:10; Galatians 3:14; Ephesians 3:6). Therefore, the fulness of the Lord’s blessings will come to all who obey the laws and ordinances of the gospel. . . .

Spencer W Kimball said that “Patriarchal blessings are revelations to the recipients . . . to protect, inspire, motivate toward activity and righteousness.

“An inspired patriarchal blessing could light the way and lead the recipient on a path to fulfillment. It could lead [him or her] to become a new [person] and to have . . . a new heart” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 505).


We may not remember our birth or infancy, or even many things from the past as we progressed towards becoming those who do the guiding and nurturing of infants. Parents may not even have clear memories of the births of their children, feeding and nursing them, or changing their nappies. But those were real parts of our lives – as babies, and in due course as parents. Similarly, we do not remember every detail of our experience, growth and progress along our eternal paths towards becoming like our Heavenly Parents. They want us to grow and become like Them – They want us to want to choose to become like Them and then to pursue that objective in our eternal journeys towards become – may I call it – Divine Adults? We pray ‘Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.’ As we reflect on the prayer that the Lord taught His disciples to pray in the sermon on the mount that we are studying in Come, Follow Me at present, may we strive to become perfect, merciful and holy as He is? Our patriarchal blessings are part of the personal guidance that each of us can receive on that straight and narrow way towards our divine destiny.

May we ponder seriously on how we can live as the Saviour invited His disciples to live in the Sermon on the Mount. May we press forward faithfully, striving to live up to our privileges, living up to His expectations, living up to our divine potential. I humbly pray that we will invite the Spirit to help us to receive the personal revelation that we need to have in order to prosper in the midst of the challenges of mortality – that we may each blossom as a rose in our individual desert of life. May we be committed to our relationship with Him. May we remember that He delights to bless us. May we live in such a way that He can welcome us with those wonderful words in Matt 25 ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord’. That we may walk in the Abrahamic covenant and be seen sitting in the bosom of Abraham our father, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

04 February 2023

A 'Homeless debate' on social media - US or THEM - which am I?

A video was shared recently on a social media group. The video shows homeless people making homes adjacent to the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. The video was accompanied by this comment:

Gra: This was posted on another group. People ask if we can honestly call this one of the world's best tourist destinations. A group of Israelis I was touring with today asked me what is being done to house the homeless and how can the city allow this to happen. This is not the only place this is occurring. 

Derek: Tnx Gra. We need to embrace what is real. The homeless do not have a place to go to. 

 To which I made a comment:

Me: I have very mixed feelings on this subject. I have dealt with many homeless people. I contribute to many homeless shelters. I believe that some of the people who go to homeless shelters go there hoping that they can improve their lives so that they can become the opposite of being homeless and provide for others. 
     My grave concern is for many that appear to me to choose to remain homeless, receiving, but with no real determination to be contributors. I worry that I may, at times, have added to the problem by giving to some beggars who are still just beggars years later, begging at an intersection where others are trying to sell stuff in order to earn a living. Begging in places where there is a lot of litter and they don't care enough to clean up what they appear to choose as their home. 
     I am glad that we're told to not judge, but to leave judging to Him who knows the heart. I happily lay the burden of judging at His feet and just try to give responsibly in the hope that I will be judged fairly.

Some chatting about the plight of homeless people, followed be:

Derek: Which ever way we look at it. The homeless population (for whatever reason) is growing exponentially, and are being more restricted for places to go to.
My response: I've often looked at them and wondered why most of them are not at their fatherland farming and providing food and employment for people rather than hoping that someone will provide for them. 
     I've looked at pictures of starving people in various countries and they are surrounded by open land with no crops growing. 
     I've spoken to someone who abandoned his farm because the irrigation does not work. When I asked him why he didn't fix it he replied that the white man does that. 
     Each person needs to find solutions rather than being stymied by problems and always expecting someone to provide for them. We changed our babies' nappies, fed them and clothed them. But we expected them to grow up and become self-reliant. 
     Our constitution states that every citizen has equal rights and spells out those rights. Then it says that every citizen has equal responsibility. I have yet to hear any politician tell the citizens of South Africa to not expect the government to be responsible for each person's rights but that each citizen has the responsibility to ensure the rights of every other citizen. That is what democracy is...

Further discussion over a few days, and then a response to my previous comment:

Unknown responder: You’re making an assumption that these people are all black when in fact there are increasing numbers of white ex-middle class people amongst these homeless. This US and THEM talk is very counterproductive and creates more problems than it solves.

So, I wonder if the US or THEM refers to homeless vs homed, black vs white. US and THEM also often refers to privileged vs underprivileged, advantaged vs disadvantaged, straight vs gay, or any other 'opposite' groups, but in either sense, I believe that I can affiliate to some degree with each of these groups. 

I grew up in a family with a reasonable home, but we had a simple old car, and generally simple things. I remember feeling really privileged when my father bought a slide projector. This was the 'entry level projector' that was fully manual. I later noticed many of my acquaintances who had fancy carousel or automated slide projectors. I realised early in life that my parents invested in educating their children rather than in fancy clothes.  That broadened my viewpoint.

I remember a friend asking if he could buy a really old pair of jeans that I had worn to the point of it falling apart because the fashion was to wear what looked like worn-out jeans. I always bought the cheapest jeans and wore them as long as I could and he was offering me more than I had paid for them. I still cannot understand why someone pays for something that looks like it would not pass a Quality Control test because it has holes in it... That broadened my viewpoint.

In 1973 I spent a night in prison in Empangeni. My three companions and I were not guilty of any crime, but we were locked up in prison because we had no other place to stay for the night. Each of us was given a blanket similar to the one that I had had in the army the previous year, but the mattress was simply a thick layer of felt. That broadened my viewpoint.

I have often slept under the stars in various parts of the county, including one night that I was entirely on my own in the Namib dunes close to a dry river bed, and all that I could hear that night was the barking sound of some hyena and the singing in my ears. That broadened my viewpoint.

I have spent hours on Sundays or days off wandering on my own in the Namib Desert, savanna, Kalahari, Namaqualand, Succulent Karoo, Nama-Karoo, Fynbos, spekboomveld, grasslands, on beaches, and other open spaces all around our delightful South Africa, South West Africa/Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland/Eswatini. I walked many kilometres on each of those days. All that I saw besides the wonderful vegetation, landscape, sky and the environment, were buck, ostrich, beetles, lizards, snakes, birds, of many species and animal life forms, and on rare occasions another human being. That broadened my viewpoint.

I slept on my own, on the ground, in a tent in Sperrgebiet. That broadened my viewpoint.

I have spent time alone with people of many race groups and nationalities, with just two of us, or groups of varying sizes, discussing life, eating, socialising, working, sleeping in the same room, bungalow, or tent.  That broadened my viewpoint.

My already sympathetic feeling of respect and honour towards the LGBTQ community was enhanced when a gay colleague said, when accommodation was limited for a meeting, that he would not share a room with any other man because it would make him feel unfaithful to his partner. That broadened my viewpoint.

I remember in about 1983 when I was teaching at a Jewish school, and a Jewish colleague turned to me while a young male scholar was talking disparagingly about the informal settlements near the Cape Town airport, 'I wonder if he has been to Tel Aviv and seen the informal settlements there?' That broadened my viewpoint.

I have a child married 'across the colour bar' and I have a grandchild of 'mixed race'. That broadened my viewpoint.

I have been unemployed on at least four occasions. I had to hire myself out doing odd jobs and repairs. That broadened my viewpoint.

My wife has been permanently incapacitated and unable to work in her profession for nearly 20 years. That continues to broaden my viewpoint.

My wife and I were astonished to hear on the news that the aircraft Helderberg, a Boeing 747-200 Combi, 'experienced a catastrophic in-flight fire in the cargo area, broke up in mid-air, and crashed into the Indian Ocean east of Mauritius, killing all 159 people on board.' We had flown on that same aircraft in July 1981, about 7 months after its maiden flight, and while flying over the Atlantic Ocean at about 11pm I was aroused from my sleep by a strange noise. Looking out of the window I saw lights flashing past us and asked Sally if we had landed - to which she said that we had not. Damage had occurred in one engine and after landing we discovered that debris from that engine had been thrown into the neighbouring engine such that we flew for several hours and landed on Ilha Do Sal (Sal, Cape Verde) where we waited 24 hours for a replacement aircraft to take us on to New York. That broadened my viewpoint. And yet, I still fly on aircraft, old or new...

Our flight on the Helderberg in July 1981

One of the passengers pointing at the point of the explosion.

I am far from perfect - I acknowledge that. But I hope that I am becoming less and less prejudiced, and certainly not discriminatory, as my viewpoint becomes increasingly broadened and inclusive. I love our national mottos. When I was young we often quoted Ex Unitate Vires (transl. "from unity, strength", Eendracht maakt macht, or Unity is Strength), and in our present era, ! ke e: /xarra //ke, written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, literally meaning Diverse People Unite.

I feel it appropriate to share something that I shared in response to a video blaming all whites for causing all of the corruption in the ANC government or the EFF party: I am a cheeky ou, Colin. I ask myself - if Sterkfontein, Mapungubwe, Agulhas plain, and other notable sites in South Africa are sites of the cradle of humankind, and if I am descended from the first humankind, am I any less at home in the Fairest Cape than is someone with a darker skin and darker eyes? I reckon that I have just returned to my fatherland. If that is the case and I am as at home as anyone whose ancestors wandered away and then returned, then our skin colour is simply a sign of genetic variability and we are as equal as anyone can ever be. What is the problem of someone who blames 'whites' for anything that he does not want to accept as being his own fault? Somehow that sounds a bit like 'hate speech', prejudice, narrow-mindedness, or something like that, and more a part of the problem that part of the solution 🤔 But then, what do I know? 😉

I hope that anyone reading this will have his or her viewpoint broadened and seek to be inclusive and not exclusive, united and not divided, a builder and not a wrecker, part of the solution and not part of the problem. As imperfect as my efforts are in this regard, I continue to try. I hope that my mind, mental and emotional capability, and my brain and body, will enable me to always continue to try to be intentionally open-minded and inclusive as I advance in years.

I felt impressed add more thoughts that you might be interested in reading. See 

'A promise of an eternal marriage for LGBTQ+ individuals - well, for anyone'.

02 February 2023

Tolerating the devil in our midst

I was walking along Farmersfield Road right outside Farmersfield Village and I saw an alarming number of devils. No kidding!

There are an alarming number of devils visible in this picture.

Well, actually, what I saw was duiweltjiedorings, devil thorns, Tribulus terrestrial

I pulled out some 30 individuals, but that is but a small fraction of the number of individuals about. If each person that sees this, or any other aggressively invasive species, pulls out and destroys 30 individuals, preventing them from seeding, we would make a significant impact on reducing its spread. For any individual that we tolerate, we will enable 'one year seeding, seven years weeding'.

The green dots show some of the localities where duiweltjiedoring has been observed in Southern Africa between 1830 and 2012

The duiweltjiedoring is native to warm temperate and tropical regions in southern Eurasia and Africa. This is a species that survives in dry conditions and is very abundant in our Fairest Cape. It is evidently not an alien to South Africa, but it certainly can be a noxious weed.

The survival of any plant species depends on various factors that include;

  • the dispersal of the seed;
  • then the germination of the seed;
  • then its survival beyond seedling stage;
  • then reaching flowering stage;
  • then being pollinated;
  • then developing a viable seed;
  • and the dispersal of the next generation of seed. 
Along the way from germination to seeding, there are impacts such as;
  • grazing/eradication/harvesting;
  • trampling;
  • insufficient subsequent rainfall to enable the roots to penetrate deep enough to survive through future dry periods to reach flowering and fruiting stages;
  • fire;
  • unsuitable (e.g. rocky or hard) substrate;
  • inadequate pollination;
  • and various other adverse effects.

In addition to these impacts, success is determined by:

  • the numbers of seeds produced;
  • the proportion of those seeds that develop fully;
  • the rate of dispersal;
  • the distance of dispersal;
  • the germination rate (the percentage of seeds that germinate);
  • and other statistical factors affect the successful seeding, germination, and survival of the seed.

Now, for the readers with critical minds, I had a quick look at some of these variables in this group of plants. I looked at 23 plants within and area of maybe 0.5 square metre (about 40 cm x 40 cm, about 2 square feet). There were about 6 that looked like small seedlings of which 3 had no flowers or seeds, but others had up to 14 flowers or seeds. The one plant with the most seeds had 43 flowers/fruits, with 5 fruits per flower, giving about 215 seeds on that one plant since one flower produces 5 fruits. The average was 66.5 seeds per plant, a standard deviation of 54.6 (meaning that 90% of plants in a population would have between 12 and 121 seeds), and a median of 50. There were about 50 to 200 seeds left on the ground under where I removed these plants. This brings to mind the parable of the sower with some seeds that fell on good ground brought forth hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold while others did not even germinate, and some germinated but then dried up in the sun.

A large individual

One individual can stretch over a long distance.

The flower produces a fruit with five separate seeds. 

A seedling with no visible fruit.

The devil thorn/duiweltjiedoring evidently has several uses in traditional medicinal. It can also be used in cooking and the roots and shoots can be eaten. But I suggest that the plant be grown under controlled conditions rather than it spreading out-of-control on our sidewalks where it hurts us if we step on or touch the bur, or where it can so easily puncture a bicycle tyre, or any of the other unpleasant effects of it growing in our neighbourhoods.

As it is said, the easiest way for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. 

Let us be one of those who does something. Let us not tolerate the devil [thorn], anything devilish, including undesirable invasive species, or any evils in our environment when we are able to do something to remove them. 

As the milkman Reb Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof often said, 'On the other hand', just as undesirable seeds are - well, undesirable - so we can sow good seeds and reap good - desirable - harvests. Let us sow seeds of charity, love, inclusiveness, kindness, and other desirable fruits. It is good to bear in mind that even undesirable things about us can have good - the duiweltjiedoring has medicinal values, the invasive gumtrees support bees that are essential for most of our agricultural crops. It is by experiencing the bitter that we can appreciate the sweet, the dark helps us to appreciate the light, and so forth. But let us be sweet and light rather than being bitter or dark - there are more than enough others around us that will provide the bitter and dark.

Let us be part of the solution and not part of the problem in any situations where we can make a big difference by doing small and simple things. I am far from perfect, but I am working on it...